Hinds says winning Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence among finer achievements in career
AFTER winning the ninth Annual Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence on Wednesday evening, former West Indies cricketer Wavell Hinds said it ranks among his finer achievements in a fruitful career that has transitioned to administration.
Hinds took the award, which is backed by the CHASE Fund, ahead of other sporting standouts, namely, national netball captain Nadine Bryan, prominent paralympian Alphanso Cunningham, and multiple sprint relay gold medallist Michael Frater.
The ex-Jamaica cricket captain was gracious in accepting the award, declaring on the podium that he admired the work of the other candidates, while adding "we are all winners here tonight".
"There are a lot of things I've achieved. Gaining my Test debut is also a special one. This is up there with getting my Test cap in 2000 at Queen's Park Oval [in Trinidad & Tobago]," Hinds told reporters at the end of the function at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
The 37-year-old played 45 Test matches for the West Indies between 2000 and 2005 and made 2,608 runs at an average of 33.01. The former left-handed batsman struck five centuries, including a top score of 213 against South Africa in Georgetown, Guyana. Hinds also took 16 Test wickets at 36.87 with his part-time medium pace.
The former Camperdown High student, who last played for Jamaica in April 2011, hit 23 hundreds in 175 first-class matches.
Hinds, the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), said that despite being on the short list, he always thought it would be difficult to top the other three for the award.
"Once you are in of course you would expect that you would have a good chance of winning...didn't expect it to be as it was, I must admit.
"Given the company that I was placed in, the outstanding netball captain Ms Bryan, Alphanso Cunningham is a great representative and has done well for us over the years, and Michael Frater, who is my favourite relay runner.
"It's nice to be named winner of the Courtney Walsh Award, because Courtney Walsh was my captain when I made my regional debut for Jamaica 16 years ago. When I made my Test debut 13 years ago he was also in the team, and he has been a father figure, a brother and more; so, a true friend to me and he has guided me along.
"With all these things comes responsibility, and it will only encourage me to go on to do better things and to widen my scope so that I can touch more people," he said.
Walsh, the retired West Indies fast-bowling great, said he was happy he was not among the judges.
"Looking at it personally, I'm happy it's a cricketer, but when you look at the nominees, to me it would have been a very difficult choice, and I think all four are deserved winners. I'm glad I wasn't one of the judges," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who spoke highly of the island's sporting achievements, and pledged government support for the under-fire Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, expressed "heartiest congratulations to all the nominees" ahead of the announcement of the winner.
Special awards were also given to two students — a girl and a boy — who have excelled in academics and sports.
Mark Parchment of Munro College, who has experience with the National Under-19 cricket team, and Janelle Dalberry, who represents St Jago High in volleyball, copped the respective student awards.
Kingston College's Shaquille Shaw and St George's College's Scott Allen were the other male nominees, while Dalberry was an automatic pick because she was the lone schoolgirl to fit the judges' criteria.
Present at the awards ceremony were chairman of the CHASE Fund Dr Carlton Davis, Jamaica Olympic Association president and award selection committee member Michael Fennell, Supreme Ventures Foundation Chairman Dr David McBean, CHASE Fund director Lisa Harrison, and Jamaica Netball Association boss Marva Bernard.
Also in attendance were CHASE Fund CEO and Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) presidential candidate William 'Billy' Heaven; his challenger, the incumbent Vice-President Milton Henry, and outgoing JCA boss Lyndel Wright.
Previous winners of the Courtney Walsh Award are retired cricketers James 'Jimmy' Adams (2005) and Nehemiah Perry (2008); former track and field athletes Deon Hemmings-McCatty (2006), Brigitte Foster-Hylton (2009), Aleen Bailey (2010), Dr Neil Gardner (2011); netball player Elaine Davis (2007); and female sprint star Veronica Campbell Brown (2012).